Sunday, March 30, 2008

model minority no more?

One of the most interesting aspects of the movie to me was seeing the cyclical perpetuation of the "model minority" image. Utilizing others' stereotypes to hide what's really happening almost gives merit to such stereotypical views, and so remains the status quo. I am a little confused by the ending though, because it ended happily but I still felt a little uneasy (then again, it could have been Steve's body remaining buried and undiscovered). What kind of message is it trying to convey? When I imagine the movie to have ended with the boys turning themselves in however, it almost would have ruined it for me. I found myself secretly rooting for our protagonist, Ben, as he struggled with his identity and his love life, even though he ultimately started that which ended in Steve's death. Had he gotten caught, a part of me would have been very disappointed.
Perhaps what Lin was trying to convey was that Asian Americans being more than just a model minority is a well-kept secret, just like the truth behind Steve's death. Even Virgil, who tried to kill himself unsuccessfully, remains silent at the end of the film, and perhaps his story will never be told. I couldn't help but think that the dramatic irony we were left with at the end of the film parallels the irony of the characters themselves- they are not what they seem to everyone else in the movie (namely the non-Asians), but only we, the audience, know this. Otherwise, I liked how there were surprisingly few references to being Asian American, and most of the movie dealt with teenage issues that transcend the boundaries of race. In the end though, I feel that this truly is an Asian American movie, not because of the cast, but because all the events that occur are propagated by the fact that the boys are Asian American. They never get caught because of others' predispositions of Asian Americans, and all they had to do was perpetuate them. Being caught would have acknowledged a break in the cycle, which has not been the case in the real world, or, at least not yet.

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